Spending for primary care services accounts for only about two percent of Medicare fee-for-service spending, a new study has found.

Even when the concept of primary care is expanded to include services provided by nurse practitioners, physician assistants, geriatricians, and gynecologists, all of whom bill for primary care services, that figure rises only to 4.88 percent.

The proportion of primary care spending falls as Medicare beneficiaries age, a reflection of their greater consumption of specialist, hospital, and surgical care as they get older.

Primary care spending was even lower among Medicare-eligible African-American, Native American, Medicaid-eligible seniors, and individuals with chronic medical conditions and lower than that for non-Medicare patients.

Learn more in the Rand Corporation study “Primary Care Spending in the Fee-for-Service Medicare Population,” which appeared in JAMA Internal Medicine.